Friday, May 11, 2007

Post-Arrest Distribution in Jail Not Relevant Conduct

US v. Dugger: Dugger was charged with distribution of crack based on a controlled buy made in Huntington, West Virginia. Denied bond, he was shipped to Carter County, Kentucky. While there, he joined with other inmates and guards to bring in and distribute marijuana and Xanax. The scheme was detected and Dugger freely admitted his role in it. There is no indication that he has been charged with an offense related to that conduct. At sentencing, Dugger was denied credit for acceptance of responsibility due to his participation in the Carter County scheme. He was also assessed a two-level enhancement under USSG 2D1.1(b)(3) because "the object of the offense was the distribution of a controlled substance in a prison . . .." He received a sentence of 121 months, the bottom of the advisory Guideline range.

On appeal, Dugger made two arguments. First, he argued that this Carter County conduct did not support denying him credit for acceptance of responsibility because it was unrelated to his offense of conviction and he admitted his responsibility for that conduct. The Fourth Circuit quickly rejected that argument, noting that post-arrest drug dealing hardly shows that someone charged with distribution of crack has accepted responsibility for his actions. Second, Dugger argued that the 2D1.1(b)(3) enhancement was not applicable because the Carter County conduct was not related to the offense of conviction. The Fourth Circuit agreed, concluding that the Carter County scheme was not part of the relevant conduct of the crack distribution charge. Dugger's sentence was vacated and remanded for further proceedings.

Congrats (again) to CJA panel member Troy Giatras on the win.

No comments: